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Nerlens Noel Signs Qualifying Offer; Returns to the Mavs

Photo: Michael Lark/Dallas Sports Fanatic

Nerlens Noel Signs Qualifying Offer; Returns to the Mavs

The Nerlens Noel conundrum that has lasted close to two months came to a surprising end Saturday morning.

According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Noel has agreed to return to the Mavericks by signing his qualifying offer for just one year and $4.1 million.  The move will make Noel an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming season.

The decision to accept the qualifying offer comes as a surprising one from Noel due to the sense all summer that he was going to do what it takes to get the long-term max-level deal he thought he deserved.  He even went as far as firing his previous agent, Happy Walters, earlier this week.  Noel’s new agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group, was unable to secure the 23 year-old big man the contract he was looking for this summer, either.

This leaves both the Mavericks and Nerlens Noel taking a big chance.  For Dallas, they could have locked down their center of the future for years to come.  From the outside looking in, one would have to think that some bad blood might have developed during the negotiations.  For Noel, a player that appeared in just 51 games last season and missed his entire 2013-2014 rookie season, the opportunity to lock up a long term deal at a reported $70 million might never come again if he’s unable to stay on the court this season.

While the social media reaction from Mavs fans has seen a lot of panic, a key part of Haynes’ article on ESPN states the following:

“Sources close to Noel, who confirmed the signing of the qualifying offer, maintain this decision should not be viewed as an adversarial move and insist that it allows both parties to evaluate a larger body of work and then assign a proper valuation for Noel after the upcoming season.”

If that is the case, this isn’t a total disaster for either side.  It seems like a rational, mutually beneficial business tactic.

With Noel making a mere $4.1 million this season, the Mavericks will have an unexpected amount of cap space to work with for the rest of the summer.  Will they try to utilize it even with a full roster worth of players signed, or simply hold onto it in order to have more room to (re)sign players next summer?

Whatever Dallas decides to do with the space, the summer-long Nerlens Noel situation has come to an interesting close.  Be prepared to possibly go through it all again next summer.

Check back with Dallas Sports Fanatic for more Dallas Mavericks news and updates.

Editor-in-Chief for Dallas Fanatic| Born and raised in Dallas, I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Texas in 2014 after majoring in Radio/TV/Film. I'm a lover of all sports and support every DFW team. For random sports and other thoughts, find me on Twitter: @DylanDuell

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